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Wizards vs. Hornets final score: Washington crumbles late, loses 129-124 in overtime

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NBA: Washington Wizards at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Wizards blew a nine point lead over the final four minutes of regulation and lost in overtime 129-124 to the Hornets on Wednesday night.

Kemba Walker led the charge for the Hornets, scoring 11 points over the final 9 minutes of the game, while Washington only scored 14 during the same span. He got big boosts from Dwight Howard, who finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds, as well as Jeremy Lamb, who had 24 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists off the bench.

On the other end, John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 53 points, but it took them 48 shots to do it. They combined to miss more shots (28) than the rest of the team (23) as the Hornets cut off passing lanes and forced them into contested shots throughout the game, especially down the stretch.

This is already the fourth time this season where the Wizards have blown a significant lead in the fourth quarter of a game. One can only hope for Washington’s sake this is the wake-up call they need to figure out what’s going wrong with their late-game execution, and what they can do to address it moving forward.

Takeaways

The bench wasn’t the problem tonight

Yes, Charlotte’s bench outscored Washington’s, but that’s mostly because of Jeremy Lamb, who played a lot of minutes with the starters this evening. Most of the bench players had good plus/minus numbers because they played fairly well as a unit. Jodie Meeks made some open shots, Mike Scott continued his recent string of strong play, and Ian Mahinmi had one of his better performances, relatively speaking.

Kelly Oubre struggled a bit in the first half, and was part of why Lamb was able to get off to a hot start, but really rebounded in the second half and helped Washington get out to a decent lead with nice plays like this:

Say what you want about this game, but don’t make the bench the convenient scapegoat here. They did what they were supposed to do in this oen.

Let’s give it up for Marcin Gortat’s passing

Gortat has always played an important role offensively because of his great screen-setting and how well he operates as a roll-man. That said, he deserves credit for improving his passing game this season. It really shows on plays like this:

Even though he only finished with 3 assists, it doesn’t show the full value of what his improved passing has meant on the offensive end. He played a key role in maintaining the offensive flow with quick ball movement and corralled some passes that otherwise could have led to turnovers.

Better yet, because he’s gotten better at operating out of the high post, he was able to draw Dwight Howard out of the paint more and negate a lot of his value as a rim protector in this one. His only block came on the final possession of regulation on a play Gortat couldn’t really do much to stop.

Game Notes

  • Like we said earlier, the bench wasn’t the reason why the Wizards lost tonight, but that doesn’t justify why the team went 9 minutes without Wall, Beal, or Porter on the floor during the game. It just doesn’t make sense.
  • Speaking of confusing things. Markieff Morris played seven more minutes than Porter in this game and took more shots than him. Why?
  • Nicolas Batum left the game in the first half with an elbow contusion. That’s a big part of why Lamb got so much playing time in this game.
  • We’re still confused why Dwight Howard wasn’t called for some kind of a foul here.
  • But at least there was some karma shortly after that trip.

Next up: The Wizards will head back home for one game to host Damian Lillard and the Portland Trailblazers on Saturday at 7 p.m.